Tyrosine Nitration on Calmodulin Enhances Calcium-Dependent Association and Activation of Nitric-Oxide Synthase

J Biol Chem. 2020 Feb 21;295(8):2203-2211. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.010999. Epub 2019 Dec 30.


Production of reactive oxygen species caused by dysregulated endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS) activity is linked to vascular dysfunction. eNOS is a major target protein of the primary calcium-sensing protein calmodulin. Calmodulin is often modified by the main biomarker of nitroxidative stress, 3-nitrotyrosine (nitroTyr). Despite nitroTyr being an abundant post-translational modification on calmodulin, the mechanistic role of this modification in altering calmodulin function and eNOS activation has not been investigated. Here, using genetic code expansion to site-specifically nitrate calmodulin at its two tyrosine residues, we assessed the effects of these alterations on calcium binding by calmodulin and on binding and activation of eNOS. We found that nitroTyr-calmodulin retains affinity for eNOS under resting physiological calcium concentrations. Results from in vitro eNOS assays with calmodulin nitrated at Tyr-99 revealed that this nitration reduces nitric-oxide production and increases eNOS decoupling compared with WT calmodulin. In contrast, calmodulin nitrated at Tyr-138 produced more nitric oxide and did so more efficiently than WT calmodulin. These results indicate that the nitroTyr post-translational modification, like tyrosine phosphorylation, can impact calmodulin sensitivity for calcium and reveal Tyr site-specific gain or loss of functions for calmodulin-induced eNOS activation.

Keywords: calcium regulation; calmodulin (CaM); endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS); nitric-oxide synthase; nitroTyrosine; ox-PTM; oxidative stress; post-translational modification (PTM); reactive nitrogen species (RNS); tyrosine nitration.

Associated data

  • PDB/3CLN
  • PDB/1NIW